Last February, film producer Harvey Weinstein was convicted of rape and sexual assault against two women and sentenced to 23 years in prison. At that time, his defense attorney, Donna Rotunno argued Weinstein did not get a fair trial and deemed the sentence “obscene,” “obnoxious” and “cowardly.”
The Weinstein legal defense team filed an appeal on Monday in the New York Supreme Court in a bid to request a new trial for the disgraced Hollywood mogul, reiterating that his 2020 trial was unfair from the start.
In the Monday filing, lawyers argued the convicted sex offender was not judged based on who he is, but on how he was “cast in the press,” adding that his sentence was too harsh. “The trial court’s sentence reflects not on Mr. Weinstein, the man, and the conduct for which he was convicted, but on Mr. Weinstein the media villain,” reads the appeal.
Juda Engelmayer, the chief spokesperson for the Weinstein team, said in a statement obtained by the Los Angeles Times that the prosecution was influenced by the moral outrage over “claimed sexual misbehavior of power men, special interest groups seeking to benefit off public fury, and sensational (often inaccurate or prejudice) media coverage.”
In a statement obtained by the Insider, Engelmayer stressed that Weinstein’s conviction was a “miscarriage of justice.”
Weinstein’s lawyers also allege in the appeal that a series of legal errors were made by New York Supreme Court Judge James Burke, who they believe made it impossible for Weinstein to receive a fair trial. The legal team also called into question the credibility of the six women who testified at his trial in 2020.
“Weinstein’s trial was overwhelmed by excessive, random and highly dubious prior bad act evidence, none of which shed light on disputed issues relevant to the charged offenses,” the appeal notes, adding that the numerous retelling of misconduct “served no legitimate evidentiary purpose but merely depicted Weinstein as loathsome.”